Demographic forces are helping drive up the Canadian workforce’s reported absence rates, according to a report.

The C.D. Howe Institute’s Absent With Leave: The Implications of Demographic Change for Worker Absenteeism study shows that as the demographic weight of population shifts from younger to older categories, reported days lost rise.

For example, males ages 45 to 54 report an average of 1.3 more days lost due to illness than do males 35 to 44.

“As the proportion of males in older age categories, relative to younger ones, has risen post-baby boom, the overall average and aggregate number of days lost to illness or disability has likewise risen,” states the report.

To adjust to changing demographics, workplace practices and policies can be changed through a combination of accommodation, flexibility and planning.

The report recommends that personal, family and sickness leave provisions should be negotiated in a manner that matches the expectations of employees and employers to avoid the frictional costs associated with unexpected absences.

“Demographic aging will continue to put downward pressure on days of work per employee, and arguably so on their output,” the report concludes. “Smart policies are required to ameliorate the impact on the economy.”

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Copyright © 2019 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on

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